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Deviant Action: Sociological Experiment Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Jun 6th, 2020


Continuum of good and bad acts, and the cutting-points for various types of definition

“In discussing deviance, whether criminal deviance or deviance of genius for good or genius for ill, there are no absolute standards. At some time or another, some form of society or another has defined almost all forms of behavior that we now call ‘criminal’ as desirable for the functioning of that form of society. Different societies today define criminal behavior in different ways. … Human actions, even as interpreted within a society at a fixed time, do not divide into black and white, good and bad, functional and dysfunctional. The divisions into crime and no crime, into what are regarded as health and ill health, are cutting points on a continuum”. [Wilkins, 2003]

This is a general picture of human actions provided by Leslie Wilkins, which sets the distinction between the alternative conceptions about the good and the bad.

Indeed, as Wilkins relates, the universal examples of social deviance are quite difficult to distinguish for they differ according to the variety of different aspects. Globally, the first and the foremost aspect covers the established cultural peculiarities of a particular nation. Locally, this is the context to define whether the action has any relevance and social acceptance, which either considers the social role of a person, age characteristics, and the age, this person lives in. The aspect of time plays an important role in analyzing a potentially deviant behavior for, even within the same culture, the customs and preconceptions are subjected to constant transformations and may quite differ throughout the century.

Deviant action occurs being followed by a simple recipe: blending. The latter implies that it is enough to apply a usual action in irrelevant context and the dish is prepared. Indeed, one only has to replace the setting of the socially accepted situation or custom, and it would be considered inappropriate and opposing the established norms. Frequently, the results of such situations are diverse and can induce either smiles and confusion or even the risk of being sentenced, especially in the countries, where the law system and rights defense are best developed.

Generally, the actions of a person represent a combination of deviance and what is regarded to be a normal behavior. However, the definition of the both is quite relative and controversial issue, for at a time the action may be considered as deviation and as social conformance depending on which position is taken. Hence, a situation under consideration to refer to the deviant or ‘normal’ requires thorough examinations including the variety of aspects.

Experimental Part

This paper is devoted to summarizing the results of sociological experiment, which would practically demonstrate the management of a deliberate deviant action with a low degree of hazard. The work will analyze the primary and the secondary deviance, where “primary deviance refers to the initial acts of individuals that call out the societal response, while secondary deviance refers to the ensuing problem that arise from the societal response to the initial acts”. [Lemert, 2005]

Hence, the primary deviance implies the action itself and the premises to this action, which either represents the context to the situation, discovering the psychological state of an ‘actor’, his background, and, correspondingly, cultural conceptions. For the reason that the situation this paper considers is artificially conditioned, the premises to this action are irrelevant to consider. Thus, the deviant action itself constitutes the ‘abnormal’ behavioral at the cemetery, which our family has a tradition to visit at the weekends.

Generally, the common preconception of visiting the cemetery includes silent atmosphere of grief and reconciliation, accompanied by memorizing the facts about the deceased life in the same sorrowful, sometimes even lamenting, manner. The experiment proposed considers the implementation of, by common belief of our nation, irrelevant behavior. The latter constitutes of the vivacious conduct, elate spirits, and cheerful remarks about the person deceased.

There is a necessity to point out that some of the conventions of the Christian community we belong to include the mourning tradition concerning the death of a person in a way that it considers to be immoral even to smile at a cemetery. By our ‘ethics of death’, the term defined by Remarque in one of his works, people got used to mourn in order to show their obedience and feebleness in front of the face of death and the God’s will. In fact, the ethics of death varies from culture to culture, from one religion to another, even if it is existentialism, which is either ‘the religion’ of God’s absence.

Thus, the research has been conducted into the effects of religious conventions violation. To describe the behavioral patterns in detail, it should be out lined, that during the way to the cemetery I have been cheering my relatives up and, on talking about the deceased, I have started to express my joy about what the person did while being alive and, staying positive, have expressed the thought that each of us will have own time and there is no reason to mourn for everything is the Intelligent Design. At the cemetery I kept smiling and talking that this was good we are all in the God’s hands and that death should not appear to be a mournful event.

Naturally, the reaction of the audience, i.e. my relatives was not quite ordinary. At first I have caught intense gazes on the part of my parents, who were ashamed I afford myself to talk in such a tone. Further, the relatives began talking that my points of vision do not correspond to the established conventions within the society. Hence, my behavior patterns were subjected to total criticism for the issues of religion constitute the basis of society.

The conventions are unquestionable and some behavioral alterations are severely criticized and regarded to be at least the deviance practice. Apart from the attitude of my relatives, the people standing beside us were looking at me as though I were the religious terrorist. While being guided by the expression about God’s fear, people have strong belief that changing the patterns of tradition would destroy the whole system and people would lose the moral basis of their lives.


I would not but agree that the conventions should remain stable for the reason that not having any ‘orientator’, it is very likely that a person becomes lost among all the choices he or she is to make. However, the conventions have to be open and allow the existence of the other points of vision.

While conducting the experiment, I have felt quite released, for, in fact, the expressed opinions are really the things I agree with, but practical application of this behavior is suppressed due to the fact that I do not want my family to start a conflict over the ‘ethics of death’. I either respect the thing they follow the tradition and keep ‘stability’ in the society.

Hence, the results of my experiment proved that social deviance creates the circumstances, which are completely new for the recipients of these actions or the spectators. The prevailing reaction on deviant behavior was criticism, for the new patterns are not familiar and call for seeing only negative characteristics of the action. The deviant behavior concerning the issues of religion is being condemned even stronger as far as religion conventions are considered to be the paving stones to the morale of the society.

Reference List

Hagan, J. (1994) Crime And Disrepute. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press.

Wilkins, L. (2003) Social Deviance: Social Policy, Action and Research. Routledge.

Doug, T, (2004) Crime and deviance‎. OUP Southern Africa.

Lemert, Ch. (2005) Social Things: An Introduction to the Sociological Life. Rowman & Littlefield.

Wells, E. (1978). Social Psychology Vol. 41 No.3. Web.

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